DECISION AND ORDER
ANIL C. SINGH, Judge.
At issue here is whether defendants in a coverage dispute with an insurer may seek consequential damages based on breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing.
This declaratory judgment action brought by plaintiffs Travelers Property Casualty Company of America, the Travelers Indemnity Company and the Charter Oak Fire Insurance Company (collectively, "Travelers") has its genesis in a series of class action lawsuits commenced by third parties alleging that Wal-Mart Stores Inc.'s ("Wal-Mart") brand "100% Grated Parmesan Cheese" is not 100% Parmesan cheese and allegedly contains cellulose. The cheese was allegedly manufactured by ICCO Cheese Company, Inc. ("ICCO"). Travelers issued a number of policies to ICCO. Wal-Mart tendered to its defense and indemnification to ICCO under a supplier agreement. In turn, ICCO tendered and demanded coverage from Travelers in connection with Wal-Mart's demands. Wal-Mart maintains that it is an additional insured under the policies and that Travelers has a duty to defend and indemnify it in the class action cases.
Travelers commenced this action by filing a complaint on May 24, 2016, seeking a declaration of the rights, duties and obligations of the parties under the insurance policies issued by plaintiffs to ICCO. The complaint seeks a declaration, inter alia, that plaintiffs have no duty to defend ICCO or to defend Wal-Mart on behalf of ICCO or otherwise against the class action claims.
Wal-Mart and ICCO have interposed substantially similar counterclaims, which have now been amended. The amended counterclaims allege that Travelers has breached the terms of the policies as well its duty of good faith and fair dealing by denying coverage. Wal-Mart contends that Travelers has a conflict of interest with it as some of the claims are covered and others may not. However, Travelers refuses to assume its defense obligations. Defendants maintain that based on Travelers' breach of its duty of good faith and fair dealing, they are entitled to "extra-contractual cosequential damages [which] may include attorneys' fees, attorneys' fees for this litigation and other damages. . ." (Wal-Mart's brief in opp. at p. 7).
Implicit in all contracts is a covenant of good faith and fair dealing (
Wal-Mart relies on
The Court of Appeals noted that "unusual or extraordinary" consequential damages may be sought, provided they are within the contemplation of the parties at the time they enter into the contract (
Business interruption coverage serves to allow a business to continue its operations in the event of a disaster. "Thus, the very purpose of business interruption coverage would have made Harleysville aware that if it breached its obligations under the contract to investigate in good faith and pay covered claims it would have to respond in damages to Bi-Economy for the loss its business as a result of the breach (citation omitted)" (
Wal-Mart's reliance on
The same set of facts — namely, that Travelers breached the policy terms as well its duty of good faith and fair dealing by denying coverage, by failing to provide a defense and appoint independent counsel — give rise to both counterclaims. Wal-Mart contends that it "is entitled to a defense, indemnification, compensatory damages, pre- and post-judgment interest, and attorneys' fees and costs based on Travelers conduct" (Wal-Mart's Amended Answer and Counterclaim at para. 37). The damages for both breach of contract and breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing are intertwined. This is in contrast to
For these reasons, Travelers motion to dismiss ICCO and Wal-Mart's counterclaims for breach of the implied convenant of goof faith and fair dealing and for consequential damages is granted.
The foregoing constitutes the decision and order of the court.